Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. ~Proverbs 3:3-4
Actions have consequences.
More specifically, heart actions have consequences.
Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Sometimes I think we forget this both in relation to ourselves and to other people. We’re quick to judge actions without considering the root of such actions. And then we get frustrated with ourselves for reacting a certain way but we’re unwilling to quiet our souls and get to the deep down ‘why’ that was our knee-jerk response.
I’ve been thinking about Proverbs 3:3 lately. “Do not let kindness and truth leave you…” (NASB) the NIV says “Let love and faithfulness never leave you…”
What if we treated everyone with kindness? What if we spoke the truth in love (Eph. 4:15, 29)? What if we loved for the long haul and developed a pattern of faithfulness?
Seems like a simple concept, doesn’t it? But one brief look around the world today and it’s obvious that something is broken…
God being love Himself, created the world with a design for humans to be in perfect relationship with Himself and each other. Yet, we rebelled against God’s design and thought we had a better way. Ultimately, in our pride, we chose death and separation from God and as a result, sin permeates our world. We can’t escape it.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
Beyond cure? Oh dear, we’re doomed. No matter how hard we try to love and be kind and be a good person, we’re always going to fall short. On our own strength, we’ll just slip further and further into chaos.
James 4 paints it clearly for us, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (v. 1-3)
Jesus — God, Himself, in the flesh — came to live in the brokenness. But His heart was not tainted by sin. He was tempted in every way we are, yet never once, did He rebel against God’s design. Despite living a perfect life, He was executed as an innocent man by the religious leaders of the day. And when Jesus humbly gave His life, He took all of the world’s sin, past, present, and future, onto Himself. But He didn’t stay dead! He came back to life three days later and conquered sin and death.
Because of Jesus, we don’t have to suffer the consequences of our rebellious hearts. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” He paid our debt so that we might be guiltless before God when we surrender our lives to Him.
Yet, I still sin. Even though, I’ve made Jesus the King of my heart, I still don’t like what I see in there. I see pride, self-righteousness, jealousy, discontentment, bitterness, unkindness, selfishness, the need for control, greed, laziness, and so much more. Why?
Paul hits the nail on the head in Romans 7 (read the whole chapter when you get a chance) “…Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” (v. 21-23)
For as long as we live in these earthly bodies, we will be in a continuous fight with the sin our hearts were born into. But thankfully, God gives us His Spirit living inside us the help us say no to sin. He gives us His word to remind us of the new life we have in Jesus and to give us practical steps to follow Him.
We are not without hope! Let us humbly open our hearts to be renewed by the One who gave His life for us. Let us realize the evil our hearts are capable of and turn in surrender to the One who conquered death. And in our interactions with others, “Do not let kindness and truth leave us; Bind them around our neck, Write them on the tablet of our hearts. So we will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:3-4
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. ~Psalms 139:23-24